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Chesapeake Bay Studies Incorporates STEM

Tricia Cammerzell
Kent School students in Grade 4 and Grade 7 recently engaged in STEM activities related to their Chesapeake Bay Studies curriculum. Grade 4 students, in conjunction with The Center for Environment and Society at Washington College participated in a buoy building activity.
Students were challenged to design and build a buoy that would both float and support at least fifteen golf balls. The golf balls represent equipment that a real life buoy might hold when in operation.

Students worked in small groups to meet several specific challenges fulfilling criteria of the cutting edge STEM education genre that combines Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math curriculums. In addition to a variety of problem solving skills, principles of engineering such as buoyancy, displacement, balance, and weight distribution were explored. Students experimented with two-tiered designs, designs with larger surface areas and inverted designs. Groups were also given allotted time to revise ideas and redesign. This program is a part of the Youth Observatory Project sponsored by the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College.
Oysters were the topic of a multi-phase science project for Grade Seven students. Hannah Richardson, Middle School Science teacher said, “The Seventh Grade curriculum emphasizes life science and ecology concepts. We are currently learning about taxonomy and the classification of animals. Using oysters to guide the curriculum, we were able to provide a rich, real-world, hands-on teaching and learning opportunity involving, research, construction of oyster cages and an outdoor education experience to Horn Point Oyster Hatchery.”

Students constructed twelve oyster cages and added oyster spat provided by Horn Point. The cages were delivered to locations on the Chester River and Corsica River. They will be responsible for tracking salinity and the oyster growth rate until May when they oysters will be released into oyster bars in the Bay proper. Richardson continued, “It is truly rewarding to present seventh grade life science in ways my students can truly relate to their everyday lives. This experience ties seamlessly with our commitment to Chesapeake Bay Studies and our status as a Maryland Certified Green School.”

Nancy Mugele, Head of Kent School said, “Kent School is nationally recognized for its school-wide Chesapeake Bay Studies Program. The Chester River is one of the largest tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Our unique location on the bank of the Chester River affords many wonderful teaching and learning opportunities. Using the environment as an integrating context allows us to teach core subjects through the theme of Chesapeake Bay Studies.”

For more information about Kent School’s Chesapeake Bay Studies Program an oany other facet of the school visit, www.kentschool.org or call 410-778-4100 ext. 110. Kent School, located in historic Chestertown, MD is an independent day school serving girls and boys from Preschool through Grade 8. The School’s mission is to guide its students in realizing their potential for academic, artistic, athletic, and moral excellence. The School’s family-oriented, supportive, student-centered environment fosters the growth of honorable, responsible citizens for our country and our diverse world.